UNHCR Innovation

Lab Description:

Driving innovation inside and outside of UNHCR

We’re constantly rethinking the way UNHCR works, while tapping in to the spirit of innovation that already exists within the organization. We aim to empower staff to work together with refugee communities to design innovative solutions to the challenges they face. We do this in three ways:

  1. We amplify innovations already happening within UNHCR.
  2. We connect innovators within UNHCR to time, resources, and each other.
  3. We explore innovations happening outside UNHCR. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we look for ways to adapt them to refugee challenges.


Innovation Labs: Applying human-centered design to humanitarian innovation

Our Innovation Labs are where we get to the practical details of adopting innovative approaches throughout UNHCR. Through our Innovation Labs we launch, support, and develop projects that focus on the needs of the forcibly displaced at each stage of the project design process. Labs are a space of experimentation, where we derive lessons from both success and failure. Labs are also collaborative and inter-connected. Most importantly, Labs are adaptive. This means that the work of the Lab doesn’t end when we find a solution. Rather, we aim to constantly refine that solution, get feedback from the end-user (refugees), and iterate.

Innovation Labs :

  1. Create an enabling environment for innovation where experimentation is welcome
  2. Develop solutions through the innovation incubation process
  3. Promote learning and document good practice
  4. Advise and support scale-up processes


Lab Descriptions


Connects refugees and displaced communities, UNHCR, and external partners to one another through information communication technologies.



Rethinks the concept of a dignified and secure ‘home’ environment for refugees and displaced communities.



Identifies new ways to meet the energy needs of those forcibly displaced through human-centered design and local capacity-building.



Expands educational opportunities for refugees and forcibly displaced persons through information communication technologies and innovations in teaching.


Contact Information:

Website: http://innovation.unhcr.org
Twitter: @UNHCRInnovation ; @ChrisEarney

Country: Switzerland
City: Geneva

UNHCR Innovation